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Posted by on Oct 19, 2012 in Featured, Reviews |

Review: Ultrathin Samsung Series 5 with AMD APU

Review: Ultrathin Samsung Series 5 with AMD APU

Photographs: Mariano Mancilla .

Today, we review a notebook to hit the market posing as direct competition to Intel ultrabooks: ultrathins called AMD. Since I coined the term ultrabook those assemblers using internal hardware platform Intel in a very thin, was a matter of time for this competition, launched its own system that works for companies like HP or to create very fine notebooks also in thickness, as an alternative to ultrabooks.

However, unlike Intel, giving AMD goes a little beyond the CPU and integrated graphics (GPU), since instead devised a new concept called (Accelerated Processing Units), which in summary, unites under one package (chip) both elements and several others, encapsulating and promising better graphics performance than its rival, while keeping power consumption to a par of ultrabooks.

The series APU chip is not yet boldly adopted by manufacturers, and in this case, we face one of the few machines available on the market that use this new internal platform. If expectations fulfilled or not, remains to be seen now.

Specs

  • Model: ultrathin NP535U3C-A01CL.
  • Availability and price: Latin America, CLP $ 360,000 (Chile)-approximate USD $ 750.
  • Central and graphics processor (APU): Both parties come under one chip called APU A6 4455M, Trinity made 32nm generation, with a TDP of 17W. On the side of the core (CPU), which runs along a scalable 2.1 GHz to 2.6 GHz when required, being double core. As for the integrated graphics, the Radeon HD 7500G found with a frequency of up to 497MHz.
  • RAM: 4GB DDR3 expandable to 8GB. It has two SODIMM slots.
  • Storage: 500GB hard drive spinning at 5400rpm.
  • Display: 13.3-inch, LED backlight, resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels, anti-glare.
  • Connectivity: memory card slot, a USB 3.0 port, two USB 2.0, HDMI, Ethernet, Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi 802.11 abg / n.
  • Battery: 4-cell, 45 WHr.
  • Dimensions & Weight: 1.4cm thick, 31cm wide and 21cm deep. 1.52 kg.
  • Other: 1.3Mpx webcam, stereo speakers.
  • Software: Windows 7 Home Basic 64 bit.

What is the AMD APU

Review: Ultrathin Samsung Series 5 with AMD APU image 2

As already explained, the microprocessor gathers A6 4455M CPU, graphics (GPU) and other drivers that are usually located in different segments of the team, which now fit on a single chip. The grace of this is that AMD says achieve excellent performance by integrating and without harming the energy consumption, as well as offering a better result graph Intel HD integrated solution, by standing on the shoulders of its successful line of Radeon HD graphics .

So in this case we have the A6 chip midrange 4455M, existing older brothers (A10 series) and minor (A4 series), with a final advantage keeping AMD for last: the APU are considerably cheaper than an Intel. The case review below is exemplary, as we have exactly the same laptop, under the same housing, one using Intel chips and the other AMD. And as we have seen, this Samsung CLP costs $ 360,000 (USD $ 750), while its counterpart with an Intel Core i3-2377M CLP is worth $ 420,000 (USD $ 880). Quality, screen, keyboard, connectivity and all the rest, is unchanged from one to another, so that the price difference is expressed only in what will be the evaluation of the AMD platform.

Finally, it should elaborate a little more on what is energy: ultrabooks Intel to express this parameter in its TDP of 17W, with versions for ultra low voltage (ULV) of Core i3, i5 and i7 both know. With all its advantages and disadvantages, the A6 has exactly the same TDP of 17W.

Design

Review: Ultrathin Samsung Series 5 with AMD APU image 3

We are facing a Samsung Series 5 model ultra-thin, said assembly held twice: once to accommodate Intel hardware and one for AMD. That’s why we see exactly the same, unchanged. The number of ports, type of screen, keyboard, trackpad for pointer, webcam and everything else, is absolutely the same in both devices.

So we invite you to read the review that we did the ultrabook Samsung Series 5 530U , where Jonathan Munizaga gave us his opinion on these elements, which is now repeated in the with AMD APU. It is as well, they have a couple of pictures where it shows that the only thing different are the stickers that reflect the brand of chips found inside.

Review: Ultrathin Samsung Series 5 with AMD APU image 4

Review: Ultrathin Samsung Series 5 with AMD APU image 5

Performance

We said: to be all the same on the outside, the most important thing here is to evaluate the performance of the machine in different tasks. The most important comparison is with the Ultrabook Samsung Series 5 530U , although in this case we have unfair competition, because the latter brings an Intel Core i5 CPU at a price of CLP $550,000 (USD $1,150).

Other art ultrabooks also scale its value, with the Lenovo U310 and Sony VAIO Series T13 as two machines costing CLP $600,000 (USD $1,250) in both cases. Then we face the ultra-cheap laptop all, no doubt. Does this penalize performance?

The first thing we will do is run the tests that come with Windows 7 from the factory, providing a set of scores for each major component of the computer, with the largest amount given based on the lowest number was reached:

Review: Ultrathin Samsung Series 5 with AMD APU image 6

Despite being far from a 100% reliable test, the test of Windows we threw the first light of what will be presented as a trend, and here we’ll go ahead to what we’ll see later: graphics performance on average, but with processing (CPU) unsatisfactory. 4.7 CPU checked, while graphics have 6.6. Compared with a platform and Intel’s third generation, like the Sony VAIO Series T13 in it got 6.9 in 6.4 in CPU and graphics.

Turning to a slightly more serious test, PCMark 7 will require the team in several scenarios, revealing how balanced is the platform which is video playback and encoding, web browsing and manipulation of images in real time.

Futuremark PCMark7 Playback video coding (Frames per second) Processing web pages (pages per second) Image manipulation (Mpx by seconds) General
Lenovo U300s 23.1 8.19 6.39 3117
Sony VAIO Series E14P 23.04 12.44 9.14 2287
Lenovo U310 23.04 10.3 8.24 3451
M6-1076la HP Pavilion 22.97 10.88 11.47 2005
HP Folio 13 23.1 8.32 6.5 3170
Samsung Series 7 Gamer 23.04 14.99 9.51 3456
Sony VAIO Series T13
22.97 10.21 8.51 2376
Samsung Series 5 Ultrathin
21.12 4.74 4.78 1289

The result of the platform as a whole was not satisfactory, it is first affected by the presence of a hard disk drive instead of a solid state, and second, there is a result of the nature of the APU, it to disclose below.

To find out in more detail how the central processor behaves itself, use Cinebench R10, which will measure the performance of both single-core CPU (SingleCPU) and together (Single CPU), along with show at first glance how are integrated graphics (OpenGL).

Ultrabooks:

Cinebench R10
Single CPU
Multi CPU
OpenGL
Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M3-581TG 3352 7000 4449
Toshiba Portege Z835
3611 7190 4620
HP ENVY 14 Spectre 3622 7211 4677
Lenovo U300s 3544 7137 3724
Lenovo U310 4378 9085 4049
HP Folio 13 3626 7294 4481
Sony VAIO Series T13 4391 9168 4094
Samsung 530U (Series 5 Ultra)
3513 6195 3743
Samsung Series 5 Ultrathin
2191 3598 4010

Other categories:

Cinebench R10
Single CPU
Multi CPU
OpenGL
Alienware M11x 1643 2979 2886
SONY VAIO 3D VPCF215FL 4529 17121 3859
Sony VAIO VPCCA17FL 4621 9768 4793
Sony VAIO Z 4573 9819 2058
Samsung R480 2362 5494 2924
Samsung R580 2795 6268 3350
Samsung Series 7 Chronos 4688 14070 5607
HP Pavilion dm1z 1149 2210 1937
HP Pavilion dm4 3081 6852 2036
HP Pavilion DV6-6185LA 4582 16983 5490
Sony VAIO Series E14P 4910 10376 6980
Samsung Series 7 Gamer 4810 18051 8643

Again, the CPU falls short in relation to competition, however, is comparable in terms of graphics and in some cases exceeds certain alternatives.

Now dedicating 100% to graphics, we find the 3DMark 06, which sheds light on the performance specifically in this area (SM 2.0, SM 3.0 and total), besides being another indicator of how the CPU walks alone .

Ultrabooks:

Futuremark 3DMark 2006
SM 2.0
SM 3.0
CPU
TOTAL
Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M3-581TG 4800 5267 2440 10854
Toshiba Portege Z835 1422 1690 2440 4114
HP ENVY 14 Spectre 1187 1468 2000 3498
Lenovo U300s 1186 1408 2412 3484
Lenovo U310 1196 1634 2958 3838
HP Folio 13 1195 1414 2023 3444
Sony VAIO Series T13 1780 2345 2959 5403
Samsung 530U
1170 1461 1931 3454
Samsung Series 5 Ultrathin
1370 1624 1350 3682

Other categories:

Futuremark 3DMark 2006
SM 2.0
SM 3.0
CPU
TOTAL
SONY VAIO 3D VPCF215FL 2462 3063 3231 7060
Sony VAIO VPCCA17FL 2473 3074 3129 7054
Sony VAIO Z 1598 1975 3199 4761
Samsung R480 3183 3167 2216 7547
Samsung R580 3178 3273 2498 7726
Samsung Series 7 Chronos 2978 3266 3454 7946
HP Pavilion dm4 655 856 2763 2120
HP Pavilion DV6-6185LA 4063 5341 5048 11877
Sony VAIO Series E14P 2030 2512 3405 5976
M6-1076la HP Pavilion 2851 3418 2815 7692
Samsung Series 7 Gamer 7559 8195 5451 18461

We see numbers that exceed the average of the last generation Intel ultrabooks, but lag behind the new Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics. We move in a very thin between more and less on the product category in which falls this Samsung.

Finally, we will see how’s the 500GB hard drive that brings this team, which spins at 5400 revolutions per minute (rpm):

Review: Ultrathin Samsung Series 5 with AMD APU image 7

A very average result with data 93MB/seg reading and writing 94MB/seg in which figures are very standard products worldwide, as far as regards hard drives.

What we must note is that the Samsung option for choosing a hard drive instead of solid state drive (SSD), which is justified by the low price of these discs on the SSD. In addition to this price advantage, a disc allows greater storage capacity, which is now translated into all 500GB ultrabooks not have: there are computers with SSD as the HP Folio 13 with just 128GB of capacity, costing USD $ 1,200. The sacrifice is then made in speed as an SSD as the HP laptop 222MB/seg read data.

Games

Review: Ultrathin Samsung Series 5 with AMD APU image 8

When it started selling its chips integrated APU, AMD people always said synthetic tests, ie, those that measure certain parameters in ideal environments as PCMark, 3DMark and Cinebench, would not reflect the reality of the capabilities in products like the A6 4455M, and we would have to see in practice the actual performance to take a more accurate picture.

So, we know that the practice is more practical gaming test, where the user is not running a synthetic benchmark that will not ever run, but on the contrary, is an intensive application that could be used daily and whose performance directly impacts the experience of the person at the computer.

Leave with the title Starcraft II (copy/paste warning) in its five standard configurations for graphics quality: Low, Medium, High, and Extreme Ultra. We measure the FPS (frames or frames per second) we get on average and its highest and lowest, ie, when the game is less demanding and few display items as well as when it is higher. This occurs during an epic battle where you get the lowest number of FPS, 30 FPS is considering a number that allows fluid gameplay, no less than that:


Low Intermediate High Ultra End
Average FPS 50 24 18 12 12
Minimum FPS 13 8 7 4 3
Maximum FPS 109 47 35 22 21

These figures are below the Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics generation (Ivy Bridge), and Intel HD 3000 on second generation (Sandy Bridge). You can play most modest graphical settings, but as we climbed, the image begins to dim due to lower number of frames per second achieved.

Let’s see how things are going with Far Cry 2, which has been executed resolution of 1280 X 720, DirectX 10 with filter on Anti-Aliasing (4x) and optimal overall quality:


Average FPS Maximum FPS Minimum FPS
Lenovo U310 11 17 8
M6-1076la HP Pavilion 32 51 23
HP Folio 13 11 16 7
Samsung Series 7 Gamer 100 142 75
Sony VAIO Series T13 16 26 11
Samsung Series 5 Ultrathin
15 27 9

Review: Ultrathin Samsung Series 5 with AMD APU image 9

In this test went well stopped demanding the AMD APU, to show a very similar performance to the Intel HD Graphics 4000 Series Sony VAIO T13 and far exceeds the alternatives with Intel HD 3000, but remaining in the category to which it belongs : a portable low power consumption, ultra-slim and unobtrusive performance.

Battery

Another important aspect when comparing this AMD platform with Intel’s Ultrabooks, is the battery life, which is 4-cell (45 WHr) and we talk about energy efficiency that reaches the low voltage chip A6 4455M.

To find out, we run our home “Test YouTube”, where we look to a video on YouTube, the longest I could find , to 240p in the small player on Google Chrome and using the Windows power profile in “balancing” with the screen brightness to 3/4 of its maximum capacity.

Test of YouTube
Time
Lenovo U300s 4:45
Lenovo U310 3:56
HP Folio 13 5:10
Sony VAIO Series T13 4:38
Samsung Series 5 Ultrathin 3:10

A little under half of the ultrabooks we’ve reviewed before, where HP did a great job with its Folio 13, which differs from that seen in the Samsung and 3:10 under heavy use, that under normal use, ie navigation Web and office, will surely spread.

Conclusion

Review: Ultrathin Samsung Series 5 with AMD APU image 10

Does the promise of AMD? Partly. The way they sell, one comes to think that the APU render as a separate video card, replete with advertising great 3D graphics and animations very convincing. But what evidence is thrown the A6 4455M chip in graphic terms is located slightly below the integrated Intel HD 4000 and HD 3000 on Intel. As for central processing unit (CPU), the product has little or nothing to do against Intel alternatives, which will take a clear advantage.

But we should make two points: the first is that CPU performance is still acceptable and more than enough for everyday tasks, as this ultrathin is designed for use at home and at the same points in this niche ultrabooks, which is non-casual user enthusiast, for which the performance of the CPU in this case is shown as fully capable of meeting these needs.

And secondly, the most important thing: the price. Because the ultimate goal of Samsung to use the A6 4455M is precisely to achieve a low cost without sacrificing thinness showing on the machine and a platform capable. True, the CPU and the graphics is less disappointed as our expectations, but yield like Intel HD 4000 generation, if we compare with ultrabooks, which have a value considerably higher than this equipment in stores. In this area is the key advantage of AMD APU.

Finally, we note that we are not facing the top line APU AMD, because other platforms within the same family that perform better, as the A10-4600m, which also serves to ultrathins and as we have already reviewed our own hand , does have powers very respectable graphics.

What Imperdible

  • Great design and construction team.
  • The lowest price in the market for an ultra-thin.
  • Large hard disk.

The unpresentable

  • The graphics performance is not commensurate to the advertising promises.
  • The CPU performance is lower than the competition.
  • Discrete battery.
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